An exhibition featuring the stunning costumes, memorabilia and movie footage relating to Australian celebrity swimmer Annette Kellerman (1886–1975) will open at the Powerhouse Museum in August 2016.

Born in Sydney, Kellerman first attracted attention with a series of epic, long-distance swims, and later found international fame as a highly paid entertainer of the vaudeville stage and a star of American silent films.

At a time when female bathers were expected to wear several cumbersome garments, she advocated a practical one-piece swimsuit and encouraged women to enjoy swimming and exercise. She became a trailblazer for the ‘new woman’, pioneering women’s high diving and paving the way for synchronised swimming.

In films such as Neptune’s Daughter (1914) she played a bold, fearless heroine and performed dangerous stunts. Esther Williams portrayed Annette Kellerman in MGM’s spectacular film, Million Dollar Mermaid (1952).

Image: Annette Kellerman, State Library of NSW via Powerhouse Museum

When: opens 10 August 2016.
Where: Powerhouse Museum,
500 Harris Street,
Ultimo NSW 2007
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